Monday, March 8, 2010

Fiction in a Flash by Austin S. Camacho

I am by nature a novelist, but I do love the challenge of writing a good short story. I find it much harder to tell my tale under, say, 1500 words, but I both enjoy and am impressed by those who can do it in even less space. The REAL masters of this talent write flash fiction

Flash fiction is NOT a vignette. Flash fiction stories have to have all the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles, and resolution.Sometimes these stories are designed more to be a challenge to the writer than anything else. For example, some aim at a precise word count. Nanofictions are complete stories with at least one character and a plot that must be exactly 55 words long. A Drabble is a story of exactly 100 words.

Because of the limited word count, writers are often forced to leave some of those traditional story elements unwritten, but in the best stories they are hinted at or implied in the written storyline. That’s always the case in the most extreme flash fiction, the six-word story. How can you tell a story in six words? Here’s one by Katt Dunsmore:

“Whaddya mean, you’re gonna kill…”


Here's another cool example:

“Or was it the red wi…?”

Yeah, she didn't tell you but you KNOW what happened there.

The most famous of these, and probably the story that got the six-word story started, is credited to Ernest Hemingway. This is the ultimate example of writing tight, yet you can see the entire story. It is written in the form of a classified ad. Here are Papa Hemingway’s six stirring words:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

I doubt anyone I know could put that much emotion into six words, but every one of us should try, at some time or other, to write some flash fiction. I'd love to see YOUR six word story.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL! Don't know if I could write something with six words or less, but a classic Southern phrase comes to mind-

"Hey, ya'll, watch this!"

We all knows what happens next... another nominee for the Darwin Awards!

Paul D. Brazill said...

I saw. I conquered. I came.

For sale. Double bed. never used.

To be? Or not? To be.

Morgan Mandel said...

That's kind of what we do with our pitches. I always have a hard time with them.

Morgan Mandel

Mike Dennis said...

Leave your wife. And bring money.

Mark Troy said...

4sale speling buk wtf?

Austin S. Camacho said...

Wow! a lot of talent out there. so far I like Paul Brazill's second entry. Perhaps the sequel to Hemingway's classic.